“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”
I wasn’t sure what I was looking for.
I just knew I’d know it when I found it.
Turns out, it found me.
Wild licorice has been called ‘the original Velcro’ – and with good reason! White flowers give way to lovely star-shaped seed heads smothered in fuzzy burrs.
My mother-in-law had found out that I had a new interest in native plants, and informed me of a patch of wild licorice, and where to find it. So I hopped on my bike and went for a peek – only to find that the R.M. (Rural Municipality) crew had been out trimming the ditch growth in preparation for winter.
I’m not put off that easily.
Deep into the ditch I went. Before long, I had a positive i.d. on my plant app. I gathered a few seed pods, clutching them rather like an Egyptologist who had stumbled on a previously unexplored tomb, a wildly exultant grin on my face.
When I got to my bike, I saw.
(My pants, that is.)
They were covered in burrs…
Unbeknownst to me, as I traipsed about in the grasses, I had become a sticking point – someone to cling to. Nature’s velcro held me fast.
In similar fashion, I have traipsed about in life, looking for something – something to relieve pain. A way to manage anxiety. Hope. Answers to life’s biggest questions.
And there He was in the deepest ditch – as I wandered, He found me, and stuck like a second skin, closer than a brother.
As long as I could remember, I had known Him. I grew up learning hymns and Psalms and Bible stories at my mother’s knees.
But it wasn’t until pain sent me searching for beauty and hope and healing that I got to know the heart of the One whose name I had long called upon.
Creator. Companion. Healer.
He handled my raw mess with so much compassion, so much tenderness. One by one He dismantled my skewed opinions of who He was and how I had expected Him to behave. He held me as I cursed Him and begged to die, begged for an end to the hurting.
And that was the sticking point.
My pain ushered me straight to His heart – the heart which had been broken over and over again on behalf of His people.
The suffering God.
The One who alone understood what it was like to be abandoned, rejected, abused, cursed, torn apart by sin.
I have a long way to go yet on my healing journey. The wounds and scars remain.
But I have a Friend who will walk into the deepest part of life’s ditches with me, and will hold fast to me even when I am not sure where to find Him.
Ah, hurting friend.
The burrs are there.
Find your sticking point with me?
Father, Your heart draws You to the hurting, the helpless, the downtrodden, the lonely. You actively seek out those whose hearts break with the living in this fallen world. Open our eyes. Show us the ways in which You have already drawn near. Thank You that You stick closer than a brother. Amen.